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. Last Updated: 07/27/2016

Rabin Asks Jordan for Open Talks

ISRAELI ARMY CAMP, Golan Heights -- Prime Minister Yitzhak Rabin said Tuesday it was time for Israel and Jordan to negotiate openly an end to half a century of hostility and for their leaders to meet in public. Jordan's King Hussein, who is reported to have met Israeli leaders in secret for decades, said in Washington on Monday he hoped for a meeting of Israelis and Jordanians soon at the highest level possible. "I am ready to meet him wherever and whenever he wants such a meeting," Rabin told reporters Tuesday at an army base on the Golan Heights captured by Israel from Syria in 1967. "I believe the time has arrived to expose relations and I believe that the time has arrived to sit openly with the purpose to reach an agreement that will lead to a peace treaty between Jordan and Israel," Rabin said. Jordan has been formally at war with Israel since the founding of the Jewish state in 1948. But they have long cooperated quietly on border security and other issues amid repeated reports of secret high-level meetings. Standing atop a sun-baked hilltop on the strategic heights he captured from Syria as army chief in 1967, Rabin also appealed to Damascus to drop its objections to direct, high-level peace talks with Israel. "The time has arrived that Syria will start to realize that the best way to negotiate peace with Israel is to sit face to face on a higher level," said Rabin, who watched a military exercise in his capacity as defense minister. Rabin said he expected U.S. Secretary of State Warren Christopher to resume an Israeli-Syria peace shuttle by July. In Washington King Hussein, asked about the prospect of a public meeting with Israeli leaders, said: "I hope that the opportunity will come sometime soon for a meeting at the highest possible level between Jordanians and Israeli officials. "And I hope that the beginning that we will see in the very coming future will enable us to progress to the point where such a meeting will be held," the king told reporters.